ST PAUL, Minn. — The COVID-19 vaccine is on its way to doctor's offices around the country and here in Minnesota.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved a lower dose of Pfizer for kids 5 to 11. That's about 28 million kids nationwide who are now eligible.
"We really want to encourage parents, just for their child's health alone, to try and get the vaccine," said Dr. Andrea Singh, Park Nicollet's Chair of Pediatrics.
She says kids are a primary transmitter of COVID and can contribute to case numbers despite not always getting as sick if they contract it.
"It's not just about keeping those 5- to 11-year-olds healthy, it's about keeping everyone else around them healthy," said Dr. Singh.
She said side effects include a tender arm and fever, but also said the effects are minimized because the dose is smaller.
Kids will get one-third the amount of medicine given to adults in two shots, about three weeks apart. Two weeks after that, they'll reach full immunity – lowering the chances of quarantining.
"That's a big deal for kids and how much school they've missed or how much distance learning they've had to do," said Dr. Singh.
Despite the CDC's unanimous decision, some parents aren't ready to have their child poked.
A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found 73% of parents won't vaccinate their kids right away.
"I think, as parents, we have a responsibility to our kids to ask questions about what's safe for them," said Dr. Singh. "And I think that Kaiser study reflects the fact that parents are just not going to go in blind."
There is some concern over a heart inflammation condition called myocarditis, but doctors say it's very rare and only found in boys who are in their late teens and 20s.
There are no reports in children.
And further, Dr. Singh says you're more likely to suffer heart problems from COVID disease than you are from the vaccine.
Several local pharmacies and clinics are taking appointments now, but they're going fast, that includes HealthPartners. Click here to schedule an appointment now.
The Minnesota Department of Health says about 260,000 vaccine doses will start arriving this weekend and next week. Mayo Clinic is already offering shots in the arm on Friday, Nov. 5.
For more information, check out MDH's new website with information for teens and children here.